Readers’ Comments and Reviews
I am suffering tons of guilt for not responding before now and thanking you for a copy of SMWBP, especially since I'm 100 pps into it and really liking it. It's brought back so many memories and you write with ease and authority. I'm stuck by how there must be a good book on every US ship, if only there were someone aboard to tell it. Anyway, good show.
Author of “The Last Detail” and
This is a coming-of-age story, navy style. A boot electronics technician, straight from ET school, reports aboard a guided missile destroyer, enroute to a WestPac Cruise. The time is toward the end of the Vietnam War, when racial tensions were erupting and the navy was changing nearly as fast as a nineteen-year-old boy matures to manhood. Steve McQueen Would Be Proud is a novel rich with the sights and smells of WestPac and a fine read for anyone who was ever young and in the navy.
Tin Can Sailors Website
Steve, just got your book this past week. What a neat job you have done. It is really good reading. The characters you have depicted have faces in my memory from the Davidson, and I bet many who read it will recognize them from their ships and time in the Navy as well. I always thought there should be a book written about destroyer sailors and their experiences in Westpac during the Viet Nam years. You have accomplished that. It is very realistic to my experiences and memories.
USS Davidson DE-1045
“I just finished reading your novel Steve McQueen Would Be Proud, and I must say you covered just about everything in the book. The chapter on crossing the line was especially good. I served on DD883 so reading a story that took place on a destroyer was very cool. Your writing style was excellent. I could not put the book down. Thanks for the memories, Steve. I feel 30 years younger!”
San Diego, CA
"Anyone who has been in the military will love this book. The writing style is excellent. His character development is thorough and insightful. I knew the same types in WWII army. I especially liked Nettles, the medic who was a bible-thumper and became disappointed in God when he got a Dear John letter. Fatty Fitzgerald was a classical lifetime sailor. Buy the book and relive your youth!!”
Apache Junction, AZ
“There is no logical reason why I should have enjoyed this book, but I loved it. I am an elderly woman who has no experience with ships or the Navy; yet I could hardly put it down. I opened it at random and nearly fell over laughing as I read about this green, inexperienced, virginal, just-out-of-high-school swabbie who is trying to light his first cigarette and having no success.”
Estes Park, CO
“For all of us that read it and have or have had family in the military, it gives us insight into life of the newest arrival (bootcamp) into their branch of the service. What an experience to share!! What a character Fatty Fitzgerald is, as well as Larsen, Sonny, Jamaica, Nettles and the many others. You made me feel that I knew them personally.”
“I used to send cards, letters and homemade cookies to some guys during the Vietnam War but had no idea what they were really going through. This book tells all about regular (and not so regular!) guys in the Navy in a poignant, insightful and humorous way.”
“I felt like I knew all the guys – Fatty, Sonny, Goat, Toolard, Pappy Sabo. And I knew a few in the Air Force like Sampson. The brothers playing basketball was just right – you got the speech patterns. Your description of Pappy and that trip across the bay back to the ship in the storm was such wonderful writing.”
Estes Park, CO
“A brand new book Steve McQueen Would Be Proud by EstesPark author Steve Mitchell deals with the bonds formed by sailors during cruise and combat. The novel presents a vivid picture of life on board a destroyer, the job of a radar technician, and the allure of the fleshpots in the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Larsen’s interaction with Fatty Fitzgerald is the novel-length focal point. Fatty protects, defends, teaches, and betrays Larsen, dragging Randy into adulthood and maturity.”
“My memory has been jogged because I have been reading Steve McQueen Would Be Proud. It is providing me with much enjoyment. I just finished the section about the abomination of a laundry room and Sonny's taking leadership. The character descriptions captivate me. I feel like I'm right there on ship.”
“Last fall at the reunion in San Diego Dennis told us about this book he had found but had not read yet. He thought it was pretty much right on with our experiences in WestPac. After he read it he sent it to Rod Keith, another RD, in Texas. Rod read it and sent it on to me. I read it (cost me a night's sleep!) and I just sent it on to Jim Hansen, an ETR who came on the Strauss just before I got off.”
USS Joseph Strauss DDG-16